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To: nylug-talk@nylug.org 
Subject: [nylug-talk] Linux Users to Protest New Copyright Law in 
Washington, D.C. 
From: Jim Gleason < jgleason@electriclichen.com> 
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2000 17:57:25 -0500 (EST) 
Sender: owner-nylug-talk@electriclichen.com 

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2000 -- Members of the Linux user groups in
the Washington, D.C. area have announced a protest against provisions
of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  It will be held near
the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, March 28th, from 9-12 AM.

The DMCA was enacted in 1998, and its most objectionable provisions took
effect as Section 1201 of U.S. Code Title 17. The DMCA grants copyright
holders sweeping legal protection for technological access control
measures, regardless of whether those access control measures are
reasonable, fair, or justified by legitimate copyright enforcement
concerns.  In effect, it lets copyright holders write their own arbitrary
copyright laws which are nominally enforced by these access control
measures (such as weak encryption).  The DMCA then outlaws circumventing
these access controls for virtually any reason, even by legitimate paying
customers engaged in "fair use" activities.

A portion of the DMCA is not yet in effect and is in a comment period.  
But other provisions which prohibit the distribution of circumvention
technologies are already in effect and are being used by the Motion
Picture Association of America (MPAA) to threaten parties who are
attempting to develop Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) player software for the
Linux operating system -- a case in which no actual copyright infringement
has even been alleged.

As it now stands, the DMCA could permit a few large organizations who hold
copyrights and also control distribution technologies (such as the MPAA
does with DVD video) to gain an unassailable stranglehold over their
respective markets -- to the detriment of both independent content
producers and consumers.  In order to make the law balanced, the
provisions which grant protection to technological access controls need to
be revised to be strictly confined to protection against copyright
infringement.  Even then, no special legal protection should be granted to
access controls which stifle free market competition, preclude
technological innovation, curtail "fair use" by legitimate consumers, or
raise barriers to independent distribution of artistic works.


For more information, please see:  http://www.tuxers.net/dmca/

Email Press Contact:               dmca-press@tuxers.net
Email Contact for Volunteers:      dmca-press@tuxers.net

--- David C Niemi ---niemi at tux.org--- Reston VA USA ---
    A computer without a Microsoft operating system
    is like a dog without bricks tied to its head.